The ancient Incas believed that their civilization was created by the children of the Sun God, Inti, who he sent to Earth to teach men how to live, build a capital city, Cuzco, and create a temple to honor their celestial father. The primary originator of the Inca civilization was believed to be one of the four brothers sent to Earth, Manco Capac, who along with his sister Mama Oclio, were chosen by their father, Inti, to pass on divine knowledge to the previously uncivilized people living in the earthly realm. In one version of the legend, the Sun God's four sons and four daughters emerged from a cave called Pacaritambo before traveling to Cuzco.
According to legend, Inti also commanded his children to build the Inca capital at a location where a divine wedge they carried with them was able to penetrate the earth. The legend goes on to state that the location where this occurred became the Inca capital city of Cuzco. The Incas held to the belief that their rulers were representatives chosen by the Sun God and were also his direct descendants.
The Inca civilization developed around 1200 A.D. in the Andes region of Peru, and would eventually grow to an empire stretching 4,000 miles along the Andes mountain range. Initial probings into Inca territories by Spanish explorers in the early 1500s brought deadly European diseases to the indigenous population of South America and, by 1572, the Spanish took control of the former Incan empire.